Knicks Up To Old Tricks
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. - New York Knicks forward Malik Rose was asked how he was going to be able to focus on this season with so many distractions surrounding the team - especially the embarrassingly awful sexual harassment case against Madison Square Garden and Coach Isiah Thomas. Rose smiled and said, "It'll be easy for me."
Then Rose paused, placed his hand on his mouth and asked, "Is there a trash can?"
He got up, looked around then walked out of door to find a place to get rid of whatever came up his throat (Insert your joke here).
It's easy to pile on the Knicks, a team that stays on the back pages for all of the wrong reasons, and appears headed for the worst possible scenario in this civil suit involving former employee Anucha Browne Sanders, who is seeking about $10 million. Not only does it appear that the team will have to pay Sanders some undetermined sum, but the Knicks also had to have all of their dirty laundry revealed.
Stephon Marbury admitted to sleeping with an intern after the greatest pickup line ever ("You getting in the truck?"). Thomas was portrayed as someone who repeatedly referred to Sanders as a "b----" and sparked some outrage when he said it was less offensive for black men than white men to use to term. Those were just the highlights - or lowlights - but throughout the whole trial, I kept asking myself, why did they let it get this far? Why go to trial when nothing good could come from it? Why couldn't this franchise - which had no trouble paying millions of dollars for Jalen Rose and Maurice Taylor not to play for them last year and gave Larry Brown more than $28 million for 23 wins - just pay off Sanders and avoid the embarrassment.
David Stern has to be seething.
Oh well. It's always something with this team. Last year, Thomas entered camp as a reluctant coach with a one-year ultimatum after Brown's unceremonious departure. The year before that, the Knicks made the controversial move to acquire Eddy Curry, whom the Chicago Bulls claimed had a serious heart condition.
Believe it not, there were some other topics discussed at media day, which should have been mostly about the introduction of newcomer Zach Randolph, the 20 and 10 guy from Portland. Randolph should fit in okay in New York. And, the media circus shouldn't be anything new for him since he played in Portland during that infamous Jail Blazers era.
He handled himself pretty well, saying that he was too removed to comment on the trial ("All I can tell you is Isiah is great guy," he said) and that he too was anxious to see how he and Eddy Curry would blend on the floor. He added that it shouldn't be too much of concern with two low post scorers because "I can shoot, too."
"It's a lot of talk about me and Eddy, but I've been on teams with Rasheed Wallace and Arvydas Sabonis. So I've played with other great big men in my career. I don't see what all the talk is," Randolph said. "Eddy's a beast. I told [Eddy] I might have to sacrifice something, you might have to sacrifice something."
As for Curry, he said he is looking forward to the season after having he was tied up and robbed at gunpoint in his suburban Chicago home last summer. "It's been a therapeutic situation for me," Curry said of playing basketball again. The incident forced him to come to New York begin his workouts earlier than normal. He said he is reporting to camp 20 pounds lighter than last season. When asked to expound what the weight difference was, Curry said, "20 below zero."
Curry also spoke about his reaction to the trade that landed Randolph. "I was shocked. Not in a bad way. I wasn't expecting it. I think it was a great move," Curry said. "He brings that other dimension on the block. He can do it all. He does it all. I'm waiting for [NBA] Live 2008 to come out. I know they are going to have us pretty good on that."
Marbury stuck with the company line when asked what to expect from the Knicks this season. "To be better than we were last year," said Marbury, who was the unquestioned star of media day.
Jamal Crawford's answer was a bit better. "To go as far as possible," Crawford said. "Not just to make the playoffs. I honestly believe we can get there and make some noise."
The Knicks need to do something to get the attention back on what is happening on the court. Or else their fans might be looking for a trash can, too.
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